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Old 25-08-2012, 15:40   #61
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

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Originally Posted by vtcapo View Post
Great thread!. I was caught by NE front in a Gulfstream crossing in November years ago with 10-15' breaking seas. We were on a 31' monohull (Allamand 31') and choose to run before it. We took the breakers on the port quarter and even with her considerable freeboard got pooped twice. Should I have handled this differently and used a parachute, drogue or warps?

Right now I own a 37' double ender thinking she would have handled this situation a lot better considering her full keel, added size, displacement, 6' as opposed to 4' draft and off course the canoe stern. How would any of you handle 30+ knots of wind and short confused 10-15' breaking seas with this boat?

Any advice would be appreciated since the Gulfstream is my backyard...

RT
A great deal of the discussion about storm management is theoretical in nature, and it often unravels when sailing in bad weather offshore.

Much of what I have written is derived from sailing around the world in the company of other yachts of many different designs but in the same sailing conditions because we were sailing as a group across the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans.

When we were in a storm on the way to the Canaries, we did not take a drop of water on deck as we were towing the Abbott Drogue at a speed of 4 knots with the autopilot steering. In the same conditions, several other yachts a few miles from us were getting pooped and one yacht even had water coming down the companionway.

Storm management will very significantly from one yacht to the next, because each of them behaves differently in similar conditions.

The Abbott Drogue worked well for us because we are a catamaran with lots of reserve buoyancy in the sterns, small sugar scoops, high freeboard in the stern, good directional stability from relatively deep keels for a catamaran. I think the reserve buoyancy in the stern coupled with two rudders with a good surface area made that storm much easier for us than many other of the yachts in the same conditions. When we talked to people on the radio, we couldn't believe some of the difficulties that other yachts were experiencing because things were not that bad on Exit Only. One other major difference was that we kept our speed down at 4 knots, whereas others were surfing along at speeds in excess of ten knots, and when they made a mistake, it was a big one.

Storm management is always a yacht specific skill. I know how my Privilege 39 catamaran behaves in following seas, and I use it's behavior to my advantage. I always control my kinetic energy by controlling my speed, and when I make a mistake, it usually is a small one.

You simply have to take your yacht out there and figure out what works best for you with your particular design.
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Old 25-08-2012, 23:21   #62
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

I don't know why but I can't bring up the first page of posts on this topic. I am wondering if this post is relating to actual "Storm" conditions or gale conditions and for how long the "Storm" conditions lasted. I completed a transatlantic this spring from St. Maarten to Horta and had 72 hours of above 35 knot winds and 24 hours where the wind never dropped below 40 knots and maxed at 48. The sea was breaking about 3' at the top of the waves, which we estimated at 20' min and 30' max(though they felt like 50'). We started out close reaching under triple reefed main and a hanky of jib, then went to bare poles and motored straight into the waves using both motors to maintain our course. We couldn't go less then 3 knots without loosing stearage and over 4 caused us to launch off the wave crest. At night on the second day we caught a large breaking wave on the beam which caused some damage to Palarran.

After 48 hours of this, and with the wind and sea conditions climaxing, we turned and ran with a small square of jib out. What a difference. When you talk about de-coupling the energy this was it. We did take a boarding wave which deposited about 4 to 6" of water in our cockpit. It drained much faster then I ever would have expected. My opinion on true "Storm" conditions is that a parachute anchor has absolutely no chance of working on a catamaran - period. I would consider it near suicide to deploy one in fact. Running with the wave train at about 135 degrees was best for us by far. We did not use a drogue as we never started to surf but had all the components ready. I don't feel that a Jordan drogue is correct for a cat and that the easiest way to have a drogue is to take your secondary anchor line with chain and tie a few fenders to it. Again, we didn't need to do this but I am certain it would have worked.

One other real experience is that if you don't have offshore netting for your tramp it is not a question of if it will get torn off but when.

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Old 26-08-2012, 03:57   #63
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On modern production monohulls, my preferred approach is running off with or without towing warps. Or fore reaching under slow ahead engine and tiny main. ( jogging) I'm not a fan of series drogues as they slow the boat too much. Most fin and spade designs have good control even when surfing , but I don't like the high speed even though I've raced when this was used very effectively.

I do not believe heaving to or using parachutes are good survivial techniques, for modern production fin and spade designs. In such boats it's very difficult , in survival conditions, to remain hove to and at a reasonable angle to the ongoing wave trains. Equally anyone who has been in a big storm will know there is often confused seas with large waves running down the troughs of even bigger waves. This is common in frontal storms. Active techniques are the only real solutions in these cases


The " kinetic" energy argument is somewhat over simplistic. Damage is also caused by the sheer weight of breaking waves even if the boat is stopped. The arguments put forward under kinetics are merely common ones advanced in many books and by experts in the past. It's not as simple as stopping or slowing the boat. ( read mossitiers experiences)

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Old 28-08-2012, 03:30   #64
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

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We started out close reaching under triple reefed main and a hanky of jib, then went to bare poles and motored straight into the waves using both motors to maintain our course. We couldn't go less then 3 knots without loosing stearage and over 4 caused us to launch off the wave crest. At night on the second day we caught a large breaking wave on the beam which caused some damage to Palarran.

After 48 hours of this, and with the wind and sea conditions climaxing, we turned and ran with a small square of jib out. What a difference. When you talk about de-coupling the energy this was it.

Palarran
Looking at the concept of "energy coupling" at the heart of this thread, can someone help me out here to clarify?

At first Palarran motored directly into the waves, traveling in the opposite direction to the waves. This must surely represent being maximally decoupled from the incident waves' kinetic energy. You're going the opposite way, so you are totally decoupled.

Later, when she ran off in the same direction as the waves, would that not represent "more coupling" than the previous state, rather than less (as the post suggests)?
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Old 28-08-2012, 05:00   #65
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

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Looking at the concept of "energy coupling" at the heart of this thread, can someone help me out here to clarify?

At first Palarran motored directly into the waves, traveling in the opposite direction to the waves. This must surely represent being maximally decoupled from the incident waves' kinetic energy. You're going the opposite way, so you are totally decoupled.

Later, when she ran off in the same direction as the waves, would that not represent "more coupling" than the previous state, rather than less (as the post suggests)?

You raise a good point. Perhaps a train analogy might help clarify the issue. If you "couple" onto a train when it moves you will move. If you decouple from the train when it moves on you will stay still. So if you run with a storm you are coupling onto it's energy and will also stay in storm conditions longer because you will be traveling along with it. If you use a sea anchor or drogue you are attempting to decouple from it's energy and the storm will eventually move on.
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Old 28-08-2012, 08:11   #66
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

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You raise a good point. Perhaps a train analogy might help clarify the issue. If you "couple" onto a train when it moves you will move. If you decouple from the train when it moves on you will stay still. So if you run with a storm you are coupling onto it's energy and will also stay in storm conditions longer because you will be traveling along with it. If you use a sea anchor or drogue you are attempting to decouple from it's energy and the storm will eventually move on.
Valid and key point Mike, about length of time you stay in a storm. But I felt that Dave (of Maxing Out) had the immediate surroundings of the boat in mind when he proposed decoupling from kinetic energy. And Palarran seemed in a sense more decoupled before turning around and going with the storm's direction.
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Old 28-08-2012, 09:40   #67
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Re: Storm Management for Cruisers

I don't really know about "decoupling" and kinetic energy but I do know it was far better to run away then fight head on. As far as staying with a storm longer, if you are good at math you can figure it out but if we fought, we made 3 knots towards the end of the storm, if we ran, we stayed in for 3 knots longer. 6 knots difference with a storm blowing at 40 knots, it didn't seem worth it to take the extreme abuse on boat and sailor of fighting.

A few other suggestions for catamaran passages. Take your motor off your dingy and stow it below. Make sure your dingy is very high up out of the water. And if you have intake vents for your motors located on your stern, tape them closed. We had waves breaking within a few feet of our tender and water surging up to the top of the stern steps. This isn't a small distance.

Can you all pull up the first page of posts or is it just me? I get a webpage can't be found error message.
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